The Consumer Participation Fund provides resources to support consumer participation in the development of standards, with an initial focus on health and safety standards.
Given the importance of consumer participation, ANSI has established the fund with the support of five founding sponsors from the ANSI membership community—ASTM International, the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), NSF International, UL Standards & Engagement (ULSE), and the Toy Association.
ANSI, with input from its Consumer Interest Forum, established the Consumer Participation Fund to encourage and foster participation by consumers—an important stakeholder group often underrepresented in standards development activities. Launched in May 2022 as a 12-month pilot program, the Institute-administered fund reimburses eligible travel expenses and participation fees incurred by consumer representatives participating in an activity that is related to the development of a new or revised American National Standard (ANS) sponsored by an ANSI-accredited standards developer, with an initial focus on health and safety standards. Following the completion of the pilot period, ANSI will determine if the eligible activities for reimbursement will be expanded.
Both consumer representatives and standards developers cite lack of funding as a barrier to consumer participation in standards development (see roundtable report). Individual consumers, consumer advocacy groups, and public interest groups often are unable to cover the financial costs associated with sustained participation in the development of a standard. Many of these groups are non-profit grassroots organizations dependent on small and/or volunteer staffs and limited funds.
The Consumer Participation Fund hopes to ease the financial burden on consumers as they volunteer to spend time working on standards.
Expenses eligible for reimbursement may include travel expenses (transportation, hotel, food per diem) plus participation fees, if applicable, related to participation and/or attendance by a consumer representative in/at an activity. ANSI staff will determine allowable expenses at the time of application on a case-by-case basis and will determine and advise the applicant which expenses will be acceptable (and maximum allowable expenses) at the time of notification of approval of their application.
Permitted allowances for expenses will adhere to the location-based U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) per diem rates.